Architects of the Web.

I Find Karma (
Mon, 31 Mar 97 03:00:05 PST

Initial reaction to:
_Architects of the Web: 1000 Days That Built the Future of Business_
by Robert H. Reid, John Wiley and Sons, 1997.

This is a downright infuriating book, which implies that the Web's
success over the last 3 years has been due largely to 8 entrepreneurs,
and their insights will guide the Web for the next 30 years.

The author wrote the book in transition from lackey at Silicon Graphics
to head of his own Web business consulting firm (for which this book
gives him instant credibility, no doubt).

The Web 1991-1994 is given little more than a sweep under the rug (sure,
TimBL invented it, but he was only interested in keeping it under raps
for research and academic use only until Marc A liberated it with a
flourish of his bastard sword +6 a/k/a the IMG tag). The World Wide Web
Consortium does not exist in this book, and Microsoft exists only as a
sleeping dragon who is waiting for the Web to come and slay it (I kid
you not).

history and business relevance are:
1. Marc Andreeeeesssseeen, Netscape - portal to the Web.
2. Rob Glaser, Progressive Networks - uniting sound with sites.
3. Kim Polese, Marimba - vitalizing the Web.
4. Mark Pesce, VRML - bringing a third dimension to the Web.
5. Ariel Poler, I/PRO - bringing demographics and advertising.
6. Jerry Yang, Yahoo! - finding needles in the Web's haystack.
7. Andrew Anker, HotWired - bringing publishing to the Web.
8. Halsey Minor, CNET - merging media with the Web.

The book gives a nice plug for Silicon Graphics from time to time, and
completely underplays and/or doesn't play the importance of the
TECHNOLOGY architects of the Web as impacting its overall history
and commercial appeal. To the point of being infuriating.

This is the kind of book that reads like the stream of consciousness pea
soup that spews from the mind of Rohit all the time.

Still, the stories of those 8 people are kind of interesting in their
own right, and let's be fair: Reid doesn't know technology, so why
should he try to present the stories of the actual Web architects?
His book makes smart business sense for himself, even if it misses the
boat from an technology standpoint. One would expect the W3C to correct
this. If they don't, then history will remember the victors, which in
this case is not them.

Yeah. Why is Pesce's name associated with VRML and not Raggett's? Why
is Andreeeeeesseeeeen attributed with building a portal to the Web and
not Berners-Lee? What of the good work of Connolly, and Fielding, and a
few hundred other people who made the technology feasible in the first
place? What of their stories??? Please don't relegate them to the
dustbins of history just because no businessman understands the crucial
roles they've been playing where the Web is concerned...


Some people have a way about them that seems to say:
"If I have only one life to live, let me live it as a jerk."